Health care workers are highly susceptible to catching certain diseases since they come into contact with sick patients. Below is the class of workers that the CDC considers at-risk healthcare workers.
They include physicians, nurses, emergency medical personnel, dental professionals and students, medical and nursing students, laboratory technicians, pharmacists, hospital volunteers, and administrative staff.
Hepatitis B is caused by the HBV virus whose transmission is in through the infected person’s bodily fluids. If you are the person treating them and you come into contact with those fluids, you could get an infection.
People with chronic HepB can progress to chronic hepatitis which can lead to cirrhosis.
However, sometimes they are just carriers of the virus and it doesn’t affect them but they can transmit the disease to others through the blood. Mothers can also transmit the disease to their newborn child.
A health care worker can get the HBV vaccine to prevent them from catching the disease.
Hepatitis B vaccination schedule for healthcare workers
According to the CDC, if you haven’t received the complete HepB vaccine series, or if you haven’t taken a blood test to find out if you are immune.
Then you should find out first if you are immune if you are not then you must do the following.
- Get a 3-dose series of Recombivax HB or Engerix-B.
- Take the first dose immediately.
- Second dose in 1 month.
- Third dose in approximately 5 months after the second dose.
- Or a 2-dose series of Heplisav-B, every 4 weeks. Thereafter get an anti-HBs serologic test 1-2 months after the final dose.
Some common HepB questions and answers for health care workers
- Which health care workers need a HepB vaccine?
Any worker who is at risk of exposure from blood and its products should have a HepB vaccine. This doesn’t include people like receptionists but does include disposal agents or cleaning crews.
- How often should I test for the virus after taking the vaccine?
After vaccination, you should be tested 1-2 months after to check on the status of your anti-HBs titer and if it is <10mIU/mL then you are fine.
3. I received the HepB vaccine series over 10 years ago. However right now my titer is negative, what should I do?
Do nothing because studies have shown that immune memory lasts forever. A positive test 10 years ago should not affect you today.